Watch Focal Point: 2020 presidential candidates, potato shortage in Michigan, a preview of the Oscars, and more

On this edition of Focal Point, Interim President Satish Udpa apologizes to the survivors who were involved in the Larry Nassar case, MSU might gain a new spot on campus, and a student started her own business at the age of 21. In sports, we have an overview on men’s and women’s basketball, hockey, and wrestling. This week in entertainment, we have a preview of the nominations for the Oscars. These stories and more on this week’s edition of Focal Point.

Million-dollar biodome growing on campus

Right next to Shaw Hall sits an empty field, but a group of students are trying to change that. The Student Greenhouse Project has plans to construct an 150-foot biodome that would fill the space. “We’ve designed it to be site independent, so we can build it anywhere,” Jacob Bruner, the groups president, said. The biodome would have plants from every continent inside, but it wouldn’t be just plants. There would be WiFi, conference and study rooms, a performance area with hillside seating, waterfalls, animals…

After 6 months: Voices from the Netherlands, Ireland and Thailand


LANSING — For any international student coming to the United States, the first few months on campus can be daunting. When home is thousands of miles and multiple time zones away, sometimes the things local students take for granted are a struggle. That struggle multiplies for a pair of international students on Michigan State University’s field hockey team. Freshmen Daphne Voorman of the Netherlands and Jade Arundell of Ireland have an even smaller window of opportunity to check in with loved ones back home. They are among the 1,300-plus international students spending their second semester on campus this spring, according to MSU’s Office for International Students and Scholars.

Michigan State University appoints third president in less than a year

Michigan State University has appointed Satish Udpa as its new acting interim president on January 17, 2019. Udpa was appointed after former President John Engler was asked to step down after comments made on survivors regarding the Larry Nassar case. Udpa has held many positions here at MSU and was also the former College of Engineering Dean. Appointed by the Board of Trustees, new member of the board Kelly Tebay said in a statement, “I think we are looking forward to seeing a much-needed change in tone from the top and the beginnings of healing on campus, as well as the start to changing the culture. Acting President Udpa brings a calm and steady hand that I think we need, and a commitment to better leadership from our administration.

One year after the Nassar case, she’s become a hero

It’s been a year since Judge Rosemarie Aquilina put Larry Nassar behind bars for life. Today, she calls herself an “accidental hero.” From being on the Today show to standing the survivors at the ESPYs, Judge Aquilina has become an advocate, which has made her a lot busier. “I get asked to do motivational speaking,” she said. Not only has she broadened her possibilities to make change, but, emotionally, she’s a bigger person.

University enrollment drops in Michigan for seventh year

The number of college-age students in the country is low, which is affecting enrollment at public universities, including here in Michigan. In fact, enrollment in Michigan public universities decreased for the seventh consecutive year. From 2017 to 2018, only seven of the 15 public universities in the state saw an increase in their freshman enrollment count. “2018 to 2028 the state is projecting about a 16,000 student loss and they’re kind of that high school age population,” John Ambrose, Michigan State University admissions interim director, said. According to the fall 2018 enrollment report, MSU saw an increase of about 300 students, but undergraduate applications dropped by over 3,000.

Ex-MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon arraigned on charges connected to Larry Nassar scandal

As MSU freshman Zach Willoughby spends his afternoon bowling in the basement of the MSU Union, he reflects on the state of the university. “I think that it has kinda fallen into the shadows a little bit after the whole sentencing of Larry Nassar,” Willoughby said. Former Michigan State president Lou Anna K. Simon appeared in court, facing charges related to the Larry Nassar scandal. Simon stepped down as president in January, just hours after the Nassar sentencing concluded in Ingham County. “They want her and the whole thing to just disappear and it shouldn’t happen like that, you can’t just make stuff like this disappear because it’ll create a stigma around your university,” Willoughby said.

MSU Museum looking for volunteers

The MSU Museum is looking for docents, or volunteers, to lead group tours and explain artifacts and exhibits to visitors. The museum is a Smithsonian affiliate which means it has received its stamp of approval from the Smithsonian for being a good museum. They also trade specimens with each other throughout the year. Even though this is an unpaid position, it offers many educational benefits like access to the many educational books in the docent library, learning from the exhibits themselves, and working with children and other guests. “I’d like people to be outgoing, but mostly we’d like them to just be passionate.

MSU student killed at off-campus apartments, still under investigation

An MSU student was killed two weeks ago at an off-campus apartment complex and the incident is still under investigation. MSU senior, Isai Berrones, was shot at the 25 East Apartments located on Abbot Road a little before 3 a.m. on October 12th. The 22-year-old was involved in an altercation that turned into a fight and escalated to him being shot. He later died while being transported to the hospital. East Lansing police said the two groups involved have not been found, but they will continue to investigate.